HINDU ENCYCLOPEDIA

सनातन धर्म भूमिका

Meaning of "Ksatriya>"

Word

Ksatriya

Sanskrit

क्षत्रिय

IAST

kṣatriya

In General

Ksatriyas are the second of the four Varnas, the other three being Brahmin , Vaisya and Sudra . Their duty is to protect society from all sorts of enemies, internal and external; they are the Army officials and the aristocratic elites of ruler class. The member ship in cast is not by birth but by the work one do.

The natural qualities of a Ksatriya according to B.G. (18.43): Heroism, vigor, steadiness, resourcefulness, not fleeing even in a battle, generosity and leadership, these are the duties of a Ksatriya born of his nature.

Veda

During the Vedic period the four castes were recognized, but hierarchy was not established. The R.V. says, the knowledge in Veda should be spread to all human kind without any reservation. In Chandogya Upanishads we can see many kings who were also great scholars and they boast of brahmavidya being first practiced by Ksatriyas.

The Purushasuktam says the Brahmana was created from the face of the Purusha, Ksatriyas (Rajanyam) from the hands, Vaisya from the body and Sudra from the legs.

The Atherva Veda mantras 3.4 and 3.3 states the custom of the land as the king is elected by a council and the circumstance at which he could be deposed. The mantas 7.12.2 and 12.1.56 gives the details, as how, the king was advised by several governing councils such as sabha, samiti, sangam etc.

Purana

Enmity between Brahmana and Ksatriyas: Bhargava sages (descendents of Brighu) were the principle preceptors of Haihaya Dynasty. The Haihayas were Ksatriyas and the Bhargavas were Brahmanas. The Haihayas who were generous and charitable, used to give plenty of wealth to the Bhargavas. Consequently in course of time, the Bhargavas grew wealthy. Once, Kritavira, a famous King of Haihayas dynasty was very devoted to his guru Brighu and he donated lavishly to Brighu. Other Kshatriya kings and descendents of Kritivarva do not liked Bargavas becoming so rich. As a result of Kshatriya enmity, the Bargava fled for their life burying all their treasures under the floor of their Asramas. The Ksatriyas pursued them and hunted them for money. Among those who fled were Arusi, wife of Cyavana. To save her pregnant child she hid him in her thigh. When the boy was born, he was named Aurva because he came out from ‘uru’, the thigh. Aurva, the descendent of Brighu bore a grudge against the Kshatriyas and started rigorous penance, but his forefathers persuaded him to withdraw from the austerities for good sense.

Parasurama as the killer of Ksatriya kings: Once, Kartaviryarjuna happened to know about Jamadagni’s divine cow Susila. He sent his minister Candragupta to seize the cow by any means. Accordingly the minister requested for the cow, when that failed he tried to capture the cow by force but the cow Susila suddenly vanished into the sky. The disappointed King’s men tried to capture her calf. Jamadagni who came forward to prevent them, was beaten to death. Parasurama not there during the incidence when returned to the Asrama found his father lying dead on the floor become very furious. Renuka beat her breast twenty one times. Seeing this, Parasurama took a solemn vow that he would go round the world twenty one times and put an end to the rule of Ksatriya Kings. Parasurama who had turned himself into the very embodiment of Revenge, took his stand at the gates of the city of Mahismati and challenged Kartaviryarjuna to a fight. Kartavirya came out with a huge army. In the terrible fight that followed, Parasurama chopped off all the thousand arms of Kartaviryarjuna. All his sons were killed. Kartavirya himself fell down beheaded. Parasuramas anger found no limit; he then travelled round the world 21 times and killed many cruel kings for their atrocities on people.

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Word Sanskrit IAST In General Veda Purana